Peter Barlow

Peter Barlow

Dr Peter Barlow BSc (Hons) PhD FHEA FRSB

Associate Professor of Immunology & Infection / Director of Research, School of Applied Sciences

Biography

Dr. Peter Barlow BSc (Hons) PhD FHEA FRSB is an Associate Professor of Immunology and Infection, and Director of Research of the School of Applied Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland, UK.

Peter graduated with a PhD from Edinburgh Napier in 2004 with a thesis that examined the effects of nanoparticles on macrophage mediated clearance mechanisms in the lungs, under the direction of Prof. Vicki Stone. In 2005, he took up a post in the MRC / University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research to work in the laboratory of Dr. Donald Davidson as part of the Lung Inflammation Group. It was in this role that he developed an interest in the immunomodulatory activities of Cationic Host Defence Peptides (CHDP) and the ways in which they could influence cell death pathways in the context of acute infection and inflammation.

In 2009, Peter moved to the United States, where he worked within the Influenza Division of the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. In CDC he developed expertise in handling highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses and took part in the global response to the 2009 novel H1N1 pandemic. He also developed his own program of research relating to the antiviral activities of CHDP on influenza viruses. In June 2011, Peter returned to Edinburgh to take up the post of Lecturer and Principal Investigator in Immunotoxicology at Edinburgh Napier University. In October 2013, Peter was awarded a University Readership and in January 2015 was appointed Director of Research for the School of Life, Sport and Social Sciences (now called the School of Applied Sciences). In August 2017 he was awarded the title of Associate Professor.

Peter is also a member of Edinburgh Infectious Diseases, the hub for infectious disease research in Edinburgh, a member and media spokesperson for the British Society for Immunology, as well as Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a member of the Executive Committee of the Scottish Universities Life Science Alliance (SULSA), and an Editor of the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

Peter’s research interests lie in studying the human innate immune system with a view to developing novel therapeutics for infections. He is particularly interested in studying the activities of Host Defence Peptides (HDP), principally in the context of viral infections, such as influenza and rhinovirus, as well as the Flaviviridae, Dengue Virus. He currently holds funding from the Medical Research Council on a project investigating HDP as novel therapeutic antivirals for dengue virus infection.

Host Defence Peptides, also known as antimicrobial peptides, are key components of the immune response. These peptides have been shown to display a broad spectrum of antimicrobial and immunomodulatory activities and, as such, are exciting targets for novel therapeutics.

This work is complemented by Peter’s collaborative work with Dr Craig Stevens, looking at novel peptide based therapeutics for the treatment of Crohn’s Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The role of autophagy, dysregulated cell death and the involvement of the cytoskeleton in the host cell response to infection in these inflammatory conditions has yet to be fully elucidated.

Peter also has a long-standing interest in the impact of particulate air pollution on the immune system, and was recently invited to be part of a Royal Society of Biology Panel submitting evidence for the UK Government Clean Air Strategy. Environmental pollutants such as nanoparticles have been demonstrated to have dramatic pro-inflammatory effects in humans, but the impact of these materials on innate immune responses has yet to be determined.

The concepts of Peter’s work can be expanded to broadly include many different types of inflammatory and infectious conditions, but are unified by the common interest in the multiple roles of host defence peptides in the immune response.

Peter is passionate about public engagement with science and is Media Spokesperson for the British Society for Immunology. He also writes regularly for The Conversation and undertook a British Science Association Media Fellowship in the summer of 2018 with BBC Scotland.

Speaking about his own work, and the work of others, he has been interviewed by, or had comments published in, a number of outlets including BBC News, Sky News, BBC Radio, Scientific American, ITN News, STV News, Scotland Tonight, BBC Countryfile Winter Diaries, LBC Radio, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Herald, The Scotsman, The Daily Express, The Daily Record, The Edinburgh Evening News, Deadline News, Yahoo News, ABC News (USA), NBC News (USA), CBS News (USA), The Atlanta Journal and Constitution (USA), Washington Post (USA), Fox News (USA), The New York Post (USA), The Associated Press, Agence France Presse, Newsweek, The Scientist, Voice of America News (USA, France) and in online platforms The Huffington Post & IFL Science.

Current Projects

1. The role of HDP in host defence during influenza and rhinovirus infection
2. The role of autophagy and the immunomodulatory roles of HDP in Crohn’s Disease
3. The antiviral and immunomodulatory properties of HDP in Dengue Virus infection

Themes

News

Esteem

Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • Member of Executive Committee, Scottish Universities Life Science Alliance (SULSA)
  • Invited Member of Royal Society of Biology Working Group to prepare response to Government Consultation on the Clean Air Strategy for the UK
  • Secretary of the British Society for Immunology Inflammation Affinity Group

 

Conference Activity

  • Conference Presentation and Award - British Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (BSPGHAN) 2017 Annual Meeting (Best Poster)
  • Conference Presentation - Gordon Research Conference on Antimicrobial Peptides 2017. Ventura, California, USA.
  • Conference Presentation - British Society for Immunology / NVVI Annual Congress 2016, Liverpool, UK
  • Conference Presentation - British Society for Immunology / NVVI Annual Congress 2016, Liverpool, UK
  • Conference Presentation - Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Annual Symposium.
  • Conference Presentation - British Society for Immunology / NVVI Annual Congress 2016, Liverpool, UK
  • Conference Presentation and Award (Best Poster) - Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Annual Symposium
  • Conference Presentation - European Health Psychology Society and British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology Conference 2016
  • Invited Judge, 2nd Annual Scottish Biomedical Research Conference
  • Conference Presentation - The Third European Meeting on Animal Chlamydioses. Paris, France
  • Conference Presentation - The Society for Reproduction and Fertility Annual Conference, Oxford, UK.
  • Conference Presentation - Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Annual Symposium, Edinburgh, UK.
  • Conference Presentation - The Society for General Microbiology Annual Conference, Birmingham, UK.
  • Organising Committee Member - British Society for Immunology Summer School, Edinburgh, UK
  • Conference Presentation - Scottish Toxicology Interest Group (STIG) Bi-annual Meeting, Glasgow, UK.
  • Conference Presentation - British Society for Immunology Summer Meeting, Liverpool, UK.
  • Conference Presentation - Society of Leukocyte Biology 2012 Annual Meeting. Maui, Hawai’i.
  • Conference Presentation - European Congress of Immunology 2012, Glasgow, UK.
  • Conference Presentation - NanoImpactNet - QNano Conference, Dublin, Ireland
  • Conference Presentation - British Society for Immunology Annual Congress, Liverpool, UK
  • Conference Presentation - European Scientific Conference--Antimicrobial Peptides: New challenges for Science, UK
  • Conference Presentation - Tri-society annual meeting of the Society for Leukocyte Biology, International Cytokine Society, and International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research, Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Conference Presentation - 10th Biennial Meeting of the International Endotoxin and Innate Immunity Society. Edinburgh, UK
  • Conference Presentation - Scottish Immunology Group (BSI) Summer Meeting, St Andrews, UK
  • Conference Presentation, 14th Euroconference on Apoptosis, Sardinia

 

Editorial Activity

  • Editorial Board - Journal of Medical Microbiology

 

External Examining/Validations

  • External Examiner for PhD viva voce of Dr. Lara Leclerc, National Institute of Science and Technology of Saint-Etienne, France

 

Fellowships and Awards

  • British Science Association Media Fellow
  • Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Award for Best Invited Presentation, Inflammation in Bacterial and Viral Infection (IBVI) Conference

 

Grant Funding Panel Member

  • Chair of Chief Scientist Office Clinical Academic Fellowship Interview and Award Panel
  • Chief Scientist Office Clinical Academic Fellowship Award Panel Member
  • Invited Reviewer and Academic Grant Panel Member for Austrian Science Fund (FWF) Doctoral Programme (DK)
  • Invited Academic Grant Panel Member for The Carnegie Trust
  • Invited Academic Panel Member for UKIERI Research Grant Applications

 

Grant Reviewer

  • Invited Grant Reviewer for La Caixa Grant Funding
  • Invited Grant Reviewer for the Chief Scientist Office (Scotland)
  • Invited Grant Reviewer for The Royal Society / Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Invited Grant Reviewer for The Carnegie Trust
  • Invited Grant Reviewer for the Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • Invited Grant Reviewer for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • Invited Grant Reviewer for the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

 

Invited Speaker

  • Invited Speaker - Host defence peptides as novel antiviral therapeutics. The Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • Keynote Speaker - Can we ever cure the common cold? Edinburgh International Science Festival, Hosted by Edinburgh Skeptics
  • Invited Speaker - Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Annual Symposium. Edinburgh, UK.
  • Invited Speaker - Modulation of autophagy and inflammation in rhinovirus infection. Edinburgh Immunology Group Annual Symposium. Edinburgh, UK.
  • Invited Speaker - British Society for Immunology Annual Conference, Brighton, UK
  • Invited Speaker - British Society for Immunology Summer School, Edinburgh, UK.
  • Invited Speaker - Inflammation in Bacterial & Viral Infection Conference. Edinburgh, UK.
  • Invited Speaker, Death, Danger and Immunity, Pasteur Institute, France
  • Invited Speaker, American Thoracic Society (ATS) International Conference, San Francisco, USA
  • Invited Speaker, Scottish Society for Experimental Medicine Meeting, Edinburgh, UK
  • Invited Speaker, Infections and Lung Disease, Pasteur Institute, France

 

Media Activity

  • 14 May 2018 - Media statements on new therapeutic target for common cold. Comments published in a number of outlets including; BBC News, The Telegraph, The Sun, The Daily Mail, Newsweek, The Scientist, IFLScience, Atlanta Journal and Constitution
  • 18 June 2018 – Media coverage on researching cures for the common cold, following publication of commentary article in The Conversation “We have a good chance of curing the common cold in next ten years – a scientist explains". Comments were published in The Express and The Scotsman, and The Scotsman also published an editorial on our work.
  • 14 June 2018 - Interview with USA NPR affiliate KPCW / Cool Science Radio on curing the common cold
  • 4 September 2018 - Work profiled in interview with Scientific American for article "Why haven't we cured the common cold yet?"
  • 9 February 2018 - Work profiled in BBC Countryfile Winter Diaries appearance
  • 5 April 2017 - Invited media comments on Impact of Antibiotic Use in Animals and Human Health
  • 2-3 August 2017 - Live Interview with Sky News, LBC Radio and significant media coverage in the Daily Mail, The Scotsman, BBC News, The New York Post, Sky News, and other major outlets on publication of paper on antiviral peptides and rhinovirus
  • 17-21 August 2017 - Online and print media coverage in the Daily Mail, The Scotsman, The Herald and other major outlets on publication of paper on air pollution and the immune system
  • September 2017 - Print interview in Top Sante magazine on Chronic Inflammation
  • 12 December 2017 - Interviews with The Guardian newspaper and BBC Radio Ulster on the existence and prevalence of “man flu”.
  • 29 February 2016 - Statement on ‘Patients diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) during the Zika virus outbreak in French Polynesia in 2013-14’ given as a Spokesperson for the British Society for Immunology and distributed via the Science Media Centre. Comments published by over 450 worldwide media publications / news agencies including; NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, Daily Mail, The Washington Post, Fox News, The Associated Press, Agence France Presse
  • 12 February 2016 - Statement on ‘Zika Virus and Guillain-Barré Syndrome’ given as a Spokesperson for the British Society for Immunology and distributed via the Science Media Centre
  • 3 August 2016 - Media quotes on 'the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance', published in Albany Daily Star
  • 4 August 2016 - Media statement on Zika virus vaccine in Rhesus monkeys. Comments published in The Telegraph
  • 31 October 2016 - Media statement on 'Zika virus effects on mouse testes' given as a Spokesperson for the British Society for Immunology and distributed via the Science Media Centre. Comments were published in The Daily Mail print and online.
  • 22 June 2016 - Media statement on golfer Rory McIlroy and Zika virus, published in Yahoo News and Voice of America France
  • 30 November 2016 - Commentary article in The Conversation ‘Zika has crossed the Rio Grande … now what?’
  • 19 May 2016 - Fifteen live radio interviews on BBC local radio 'The global report on antimicrobial resistance'. Radio stations included; BBC Ulster, BBC Manchester, BBC World Service (Focus on Africa), BBC Wales, BBC Cornwall, BBC Jersey, BBC Merseyside, BBC Stoke, BBC Sussex, BBC West Midlands, BBC 3 Counties, BBC Cumbria, BBC Derby, BBC Gloucestershire, BBC Hereford & Worcester
  • 20 November 2015 - Recorded interview on Voice of America news, ‘Antibiotic Resistance’ (Presenter; Henry Ridgwell)
  • 19 November 2015 - Live interview on Sky News ‘Antibiotic Resistance’ (Presenter; Kay Burley)
  • 18 September 2015 - Interview with Cycling Fitness Magazine on exercising with the common cold
  • 26 February 2015 - Interview with The Herald ‘Scottish scientists search for new cold cure’
  • 15 October 2014 - Recorded television interview with Scotland Tonight ‘Ebola Outbreak in West Africa’
  • 31 December 2014 Recorded television interview with STV News ‘Ebola Transmission’, (Presenter; Nick Rougvie). Republished online by The Huffington Post, ITN News and Yahoo News
  • 16 October 2014 - Live radio interview with LBC Radio ‘Ebola Outbreak in West Africa’
  • 17 November 2014 - Commentary article in The Conversation ‘Bird flu is back, but should we be worried?’
  • 8 October 2014 - Commentary article in The Conversation ‘Ebola won’t gain a foothold in Western countries – here’s why’
  • 2 December 2014 - Commentary article in The Conversation ‘New 15-minute saliva test for Ebola may be big boost in the fight against outbreak’
  • 9 October 2014 - Interview with Edinburgh Evening News ‘Expert says Ebola risk to Scotland ‘very low’’
  • 25 October 2011 - Live interview on BBC Radio Scotland Newsdrive ‘New treatments for Influenza’. Additional coverage in: BBC News, The Daily Record, Deadline News, The Scotsman, The Daily Express

 

Membership of Professional Body

  • Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member and Media Spokesperson for the British Society of Immunology
  • Member of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Member of the British Association for Lung Research (BALR)

 

Public Engagement Activity

  • STEM Ambassador

 

Public/Community Engagement

  • Invited Judge, Youth and Philanthropy Initative (YPI) Scotland Finals, Craigmount High School, Edinburgh, 2018

 

Reviewing

  • Access Microbiology (Reviewer)
  • Antiviral Research (Outstanding Reviewer Status)
  • Molecules (Reviewer)
  • Autophagy (Reviewer)
  • Nature Scientific Reports (Reviewer)
  • Chemical Biology & Drug Design (Reviewer)
  • Peptides (Outstanding Reviewer Status)
  • American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (Reviewer)
  • Respiratory Research (Reviewer)
  • PLoS One (Reviewer)
  • Toxicology Letters (Reviewer – Gold Medal)
  • Journal of Molecular Medicine (Reviewer)
  • Journal of Leukocyte Biology (Reviewer)
  • Journal of Biomaterials Science (Reviewer)
  • BMC Microbiology (Reviewer)
  • Cell Biology & Toxicology (Reviewer)
  • Immunology (Reviewer)
  • Nanotoxicology (Reviewer)
  • mSphere (Reviewer)
  • Pharmaceuticals (Reviewer)

 

Visiting Positions

  • Visiting Fellow of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Human and Avian Influenza Research (ICHAIR), Edinburgh, U.K. (2006 – 2011)

 

Pre-Napier Funded Projects

  • $600 Conference Bursary Award
  • Research Grant - Norman Salvesen Emphysema Research Trust - £40,000 to Dr. Donald J. Davidson (P.I.) and Dr. Peter G. Barlow (Co-I) (2008-2009) The cationic host defence peptide LL-37 as a potential anti-viral agent in influenza infection.
  • £500 Conference Bursary Award British Society for Immunology

Current Post Grad projects

Previous Post Grad projects

Non-Napier PhD or MSc by Research supervisions

  • PhD Completion - Dr Hsin-Ni Li MD PhD (2007-2011) Second Supervisor, University of Edinburgh